Optimal Assessment of Protective Behavioral Strategies Among College Drinkers: An Item Response Theory Analysis
College student alcohol use and related consequences continue to warrant significant concern. Extant research demonstrates protective behavioral strategies (PBS; self-regulatory strategies that can be employed before, during, or after drinking to prevent intoxication or negative consequences) have promise for preventative interventions. Variations in conceptualization and measurement of the construct limit generalization of PBS research. To advance generalization of PBS research, there is a need for a brief, comprehensive, content valid, PBS measure that demonstrates equivalence in measurement across demographically diverse college students. The present study aimed to develop a psychometrically robust measure of PBS using item response theory (IRT) to address measurement and methodological issues including identifying optimal response anchors and items that represent the full range of the PBS construct for use with college men and women from different racial backgrounds. Participants were 503 college students enrolled in a midsized university in the Southern United States. IRT and differential item functioning (DIF) analyses of 68 PBS items extracted from 6 existing PBS measures resulted in a 20-item instrument, the Protective Drinking Practices Scale, with items that functioned equivalently for White and Black/African American college men and women. The measure also demonstrated good internal and external validity. Widespread use of this measure will help enhance the comparability of findings in PBS research, allowing for more targeted and impactful research on PBS as a mechanism of change. Suggestions for future research are provided.
Martin, J. L.,
Covin, K. F.,
Madson, M. B.,
Zamboagna, B. L.,
(2020). Optimal Assessment of Protective Behavioral Strategies Among College Drinkers: An Item Response Theory Analysis. Psychological Assessment, 32(4), 394-406.
Available at: https://aquila.usm.edu/fac_pubs/17415